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Consumer Power: 50 Years of Choice Explores the Role of Choice Displays at the Powerhouse Museum
Fiona Mair in Choice kitchen lab using the ‘hedgehog’ to test how evenly food has been heated in the microwave. Courtesy Choice.

SYDNEY.- A new display opens at the Powerhouse Museum and explores the consumer power harnessed over 50 years through the Australian Consumers’ Association and its public face, Choice.

Consumer power: 50 years of Choice explores the role of Choice in empowering consumers to get the most out of their purchasing decisions and to demand better products and standards of service.

From humble beginnings in 1960 when Ruby Hutchison and Roland Thorp set up the Australian Consumers’ Association and began publishing Choice magazine, the membership-funded consumer organisation now has over 200 000 members and is the leading consumer advocacy group in Australia.

Consumer power: 50 years of Choice looks at the impact the organisation has made in exposing shonky products, its role in consumer advocacy and campaigning, and peeks inside the Choice testing labs.

Choice is a major contributor to improving safety standards for many children’s products including toys, high chairs, strollers, and cots. See a cross bow that didn’t make the market place, probes used to test for entrapment hazards in cots and strollers, and a toy that could become a lethal choking hazard for small children.

The independent testing process undertaken by Choice on a wide range of consumer products is also explored. Choice uses rigorous and scientific testing processes, testing various products and services against a comprehensive range of metrics, from price through to durability and endurance. On display is a custom made piece of testing equipment, known as the ‘hedgehog’, from the Choice test kitchen, as well as a standard 7kg washing load – how big do you think it really is?

Date stamping, ingredient labeling and nutrition information on foods is something we now take for granted, however since the 1970s Choice has campaigned for consumers to have access to this important information. The display takes a closer look at some everyday food items – are they really what they seem?

The important role of the organisation in advocacy is explored through the Bowin heater legal test case. The case, centering on a faulty gas heater manufactured by Bowin Designs, was a landmark legal case from the 1990s that gave Choice greater power to act on behalf of consumers.

Powerhouse Museum | Consumer Power: 50 Years of Choice | Doha |

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